Monday, July 30, 2007

Hamming it up

Phil and I went to a nice cafe last weekend, that we had been to once or twice before. It is situated in a renovated old Lane House, and judging by the prices, the western menu and the English-speaking waiters it is clearly catering to the ex-pat crowd. For the sake of anonymity I will thinly veil the identity of the place by calling it Roquette.

Upon perusing the menu I decided that the vegetarian choices were a little slim, and so instead I'd get the Chef's Omlette, which comes with sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, gruyere cheese and ham- but omit the ham.

Waiter:"And what would you like madam?"

Me: "I'll have the chef's omlette, but without the ham please."

Waiter: "Sure, one chef's omlette, no ham."

As he bustled away I started to think that that was too easy for Shanghai, but decided to not be so negative, and trust in the very efficient waiter's skills. But I was eager to see what would happen.

Waiter: "Here madam- one Chef's Omlette, no ham."

I poked at the pink things in the omlette and wondered if they were just bits of tomato, but sure enough they were ham.

Me: "Excuse me, this has ham in it."

Waiter: "Really?"

Phil tastes the meat for me

Phil: "Yes it's ham."

Waiter: "Sure I'll change it."
Normally at this point the waiters try to argue with me about the meat. There is just so little understanding of vegetarianism here that they can't comprehend that I would want the food entirely without meat. This is the point where they start saying, "oh, but it's chopped very small", or "but it is no good without at least a little sausage". However I was pleasantly surprised that the waiter accepted our explaination and took the plate away without argument.

Moments later he put the same plate down in front of me.

Waiter: "Excuse me madam, I talked to the chef, and he says that this is NOT ham... it's bacon."
After several moments of me opening and closing my mouth like a suffocating fish I finally spluttered:

Me: "But Bacon is Ham! I mean, it's all pig!"

Waiter: "Oh so you don't want bacon either?"

Friday, July 27, 2007

Take it away, Buddha.

Yes, that's a big old flat screen tv worth of Buddhist chanting, Karaoke style.

I saw this at a temple here in China and to tell the truth was pretty horrified, but I guess even the monks have to move with the times.


Julie at A Little Pregnant has written hands down the best description/recount of a mammogram I have ever read. Anyone who has ever had their breasts handled and squished by total strangers (and not in a good way- in the name of medicine, people... clean it up) will get a good laugh and a few knowing nods out of it.

Monday, July 23, 2007

bug placement

Funny how this beetle knew just where to crawl for comic effect....

I took this photo at the Leshan Grand Buddha in Sichuan Province, China- these little Buddha statues were acually rubbish bins at the side of the footpath!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

More Chinglish

I found these Chinglish pictures among my photos from the Great China-Palooza of 2006- otherwise known as the month my parents visited us and we travelled a bit around China. I realise that I have yet to post any of those pictures, other than the ones of Manny, but now that I have sorted through most of them I'll be able to do it soon. Yeah, I know, I'm such a tease.

A warning at the summit of Mt Emei:

Not so much Chinglish but rather cocky if you ask me:

Read it all the way through...
("Steamed what??")

Here, the toilet is called a stool pot, and after using it you are politely requested to erode in time.

The official souvenir stand at the Leshan Grand Buddha:

Great Chinglish Names (Vol 3)

I have written before about the proliferance of unusual English names in Shanghai, but it still never ceases to amuse me. It is pretty much the norm that most kids and young adults in Shanghai have an English name (just as I have a Chinese name). These English names are not official names but rather something chosen for the students by their parents, English teachers and sometimes by themselves.

As with names in all cultures, the English names here reflect popular culture. As such there are a lot of Kittys (of the 'Hello Kitty' fame), Mickeys and Minnies (Mouse, of course). Some names get even more inventive with creative spelling, or even miss-spellings that become the norm, for example Anmily and Samul (instead of Emily/Amelie and Samuel.

I have been here so long now that I usually barely batt an eyelid when marking new names into the student rolls. However last Wednesday I just couldnt help but laugh.

I had a new student join my English class, and his name is Peter. Now we already have one Peter in the class, and in order to be able to differentiate between them I asked him his family name.

"Pan," he replied, straight-faced.

Yep, that's right, his name is Peter Pan.

top tips

Lou's Top Tip of the Day:

When you are trying to photoshop a speck of dust off a picture and for some reason the healing tool just won't work: stop before you lose your temper at the program- and your computer in general- and try cleaning the crud off your monitor.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Classic Sesame Street

I know I havent written for a long time, I've been busy teaching a lot of summer classes at a few different schools here in Shanghai... I promise I'll write to tell all about the hi-jinx soon.

In the mean time I'll leave you with classic gold Sesame Street. I loved this clip so much when I was a kid that I still think of it whenever I hear Chariots of Fire. Be sure to watch to the end to see Grovers skinny little legs in slow-mo.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The week in Haiku

Summary of the week in Haiku*:


Surly teenagers
in summer English classes
are longing to flee.


With a bang it comes,
Melting cheese on my sandwhich-
Shanghai summer arrives.

Summer rains fall hard,
Soaking me on my scooter.
Go inside, it stops.


The man shouts hurridly
It must be something vital,
I take in nothing.

Have you got any of your own? (look here for Haiku "rules")

* I know these are bad- it's the first time I've tried this!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

It's a wrap

And I thought wrapping my Christmas presents was a pain in the arse.... check this out.

Culinary fright

I just cooked Nutmeat Fritters for dinner.

Even though I have been vegetarian for 14 years, there are some vegetarian foods that still manage to horrify me.

They tasted ok, but really, Nutmeat Fritters??